Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bulldogs Reload for 2016

Ohio Bulldogs
Coach Chris Anthony’s 2020 Ohio Bulldogs squad enjoyed a lot of success last year, but with the additions of some key pieces, Anthony is very optimistic for the upcoming season.  “We are going to be real good,” said Anthony.  To go along with a foundation of Marcus Johnson (6’2”/WF/2020/Columbus), CJ Anthony (5’10/P/SG/2020/Columbus), Qian Magwood (5’10”/PG/2020/Columbus) and Keyshon Upchurch (5’7”/PG/2020/Columbus), Anthony has bolstered his roster with the likes of Dominic Penn (5’8”/PG/2020/Dublin), VonCameron Davis (6’3”/PF/2020/Columbus) and Taliek Walker (5’7”/PG/2020/Pickerington). 

Penn, a highly skilled and dynamic floor general, and Davis, a developing big with big upside, are both players who we feel are on the rise statewide.  In addition, Walker has been considered a top player for several years. With the addition of 3 very quality players, the Bulldogs could vault into the top 10 of our preseason power rankings when we release them in a few weeks.  In terms of the central Ohio landscape, the Bulldogs could be the #2 ranked team in the area behind the Mid-Ohio Puma’s top team.  You can catch some of the above players at the All-Star Saturday event March 26th at the Bruce Howard Recreation Center in Columbus.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Barba Explodes for 41 in Middle School Game

Andy Barba-SG 2020 Chagrin Falls, OH.
We don’t care at what level it happens; anytime any player drops 41 points in a game it’s worth noting.  Andy Barba, (6’2/SG/2020/Chagrin Falls) did just that last Friday, as he led his 1 loss Gilmore Academy Middle School team to a 51-41 victory over Osborne Academy.  On the night, Barba knocked about 6 treys, went 8 of 10 from the charity strip and was relentless to the bucket.  Barba’s outburst was no fluke, as he is averaging 33-34 points per game this season, despite being double-teamed and schemed against.  Of note is the fact that this is Barba’s 3rd season with the program, and his second season playing with the 8th grade squad.  Additionally, in all likelihood, Barba’s team will repeat as conference champions.

Barba is skilled, with an all-around game.  Also, he shoots it well and has little problem getting to the cup; however, his primary role for his Ohio Basketball Club travel team is serving as a facilitator.  In terms of his upside potential, Barba already his good size at 6’2”, and projects to grow to about 6’6”.  In addition, his brother, Pete Barba, is 6’6” and is currently playing college basketball at Columbia University.  According to his father, the younger Barba “is way better than Pete was at the same age.”  There are never any guarantees, but a betting man might conclude that Barba projects as a D-I athlete based on his current skill set and genetics. 

In terms of where we see him, Barba is listed among other potential top players on our list of the top 60 players in the state in the class of 2020.  Consequently, he has a good chance of making our All-State team and receiving an invitation to the Ohio North vs South All-Star Game in September. You can catch Barba in action at our March 12th elite showcase here in Columbus.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wanton Leads Undefeated Team

Joshua Wanton 2022 PG
Joshua Wanton’s (5’8”/PG/2020/Twinsburg) R.B. Chamberlin Middle School squad currently stands at a perfect 12-0, due in large part to Wanton’s stellar play so far this season. With a quarter of the season still remaining, it appears Wanton’s squad will repeat as league champions.  Much of his squad’s success can be attributed to Wanton’s team-first approach to the game, and his willingness to distribute the rock to open teammates. Wanton excels as dribble penetration and finishing at the cup.  In addition, Wanton is an all-around player who doesn’t mind sitting down on defense. Wanton is joined in the back court by Devin Hightower, also one of the state’s top 8th graders.

We are very familiar with Wanton’s talent, as he has consistently been selected to all-star games at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases  In fact, just last September, in one of the most competitive events we’ve ever held, Wanton was selected for the Top 30 All-Star Game along with some of the best players in the nation. Moreover, Wanton is currently listed among the top 60 players in the state in his class, giving him a legitimate shot at receiving one of our post season awards in addition to a coveted spot on the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game in September.

R.B Chamberlin Middle School 8th Grade Team
Wanton is also a star in the class room as evidenced by his noteworthy 3.5 GPA and his recent selection as “Student of the Week.”  With such credentials, Wanton has a good chance of being selected to Buckeye Prep’s All-Academic Team if nominated.  Although he is still very young, Wanton is already formulating his future plans.  Specifically, after graduating from Akron’s famed St. Vincent St. Mary’s High School, Wanton plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and enter the family funeral home business and become a mortician.  Wanton is also an active member of the Philemon Community Baptist Church. 

Wanton may also have good genetics going for him, as an uncle and a couple of cousins all played college-level basketball. We look forward to seeing Wanton at our March 12th elite showcase.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

JBA Power League Loaded with Talent


On Saturday, we had an opportunity to take in the action at the JBA Power League in Detroit, MI, and as we expected, there were a number of quality teams and players.   Eighty teams are participating in the first year, 10-week league, which will culminate in playoffs and a championship the weekend of March 26th.  On the slate were several key match-ups featuring some of the top middle school travel teams in Michigan and Ohio.

One such match-up pitted possibly the top two 6th grade teams in Ohio, in All-Ohio Red versus the Toledo Wildcats. As you know, we’ve been following the Wildcats the last few weeks and were excited to finally see them in action.  Unfortunately, the Wildcats were without star player Emoni Bates, who was sidelined with a wrist injury.  Also, John Mobley’s All-Ohio Red squad was without the services of key players including Paul McMillian IV and Sean Jones (yes he is retuning to the team), arguably 2 of the top 3 players in Ohio. 

Even with the absence of a lot of star power, the game was still intriguing. The game was close well into the 1st half (18-18 with 1:58 left in the 1st half); however, the Wildcats would lead 25-19 by the half, then go on to extend the lead midway through the second period. Toledo would eventually get the 50-36 win.  Key to Toledo’s victory were the standout performance logged in by Nate Houston (5’9’/WF/2022/Toledo), Jordan Kynard (5’0”/SG/2022/Toledo) and Demarko Craig (5’9”/WF/2022/Toledo).  Also impressive was All-Ohio’s dynamic backcourt featuring Khalil Luster (4’5”/PG/2022/Lima) and Derrick James (4’8”/PG/2022/Columbus).  

On the day, the 6th grade Toledo Wildcats finished 2-0, with wins over the 7th grade Flint Comrades (37-24) and All-Ohio Red. With the win, when we release our preseason power rankings in a few weeks the Wildcats could get the nod as the #1 team in the state in the class of 2022.  For the record, the 5th grade Wildcats went 1-1, with their lone 31-23 victory over Them Boys and a loss to All-Ohio Red.

Rodgers, Houston, Menifield, Millender, Smith, Armstrong, Eaton,Luster & Kynard
Later in the day, Mobley’s All-Ohio team would hook up with a very talented Oakland Elite team. Initially, the game was nip and tuck, including multiple ties and lead changes.  However, by about the 9:20 mark, Oakland had carved out a 13-8 lead.  A few minutes later, Oakland had inflated the lead to 17-9, and by the break, the lead 15-26.  An All-Ohio run to start the second half trimmed the lead to only 4 points (27-31); however, Oakland responded with a mini run that ran their lead back to 10 points.  From there, Oakland simply out executed All-Ohio and went on to claim a 30-45 victory.  We were super impressed with the play of Ty Rodgers (5’11”/W/PF/2022/MI) who we featured on this website yesterday.  We also really liked Kylen Millender (5’3”/PG/2022/Detroit), Julian Scott (5’2”/SG/2022/Rochester) and Darious Richman (5’3”/SG/2022/MI).

All-Ohio’s 3rd game of the day was a good one, as they came face to face with The Family, one of Michigan’s most storied programs.  All-Ohio raced out to a 14-8 lead before The Family responded, cutting the lead to 11-15 at the 1:30 mark.  Early in the 2nd half All-Ohio was clinging to a 25-26 lead with 13:27 left in the game.  However, by the 4:44 mark, The Family had taken their first lead at 36-35.  Down the stretch, both teams took turns knocking down big shots. The outcome of the game would remain in doubt until the final seconds of the game.  In fact, down 41-40 with only 40 tics left on the clock, The Family would attempt to run some clock, forcing All-Ohio to foul.  After converting 2 free throws late, The Family would take a 41-44 lead with 3 seconds remaining.  An All-Ohio full-court heave missed the mark, giving The Family the early season win.  Standouts for The Family were Jamarion Wilson (4’11”/P/SG/2022/Pontiac) and Joshua Roper (4’6”/WF/2022/MI).

Frazier, Mobley, Tolbert, Bowens, Craig, Combs, Walker, Shields & Emercian
 Drew Lavender’s 2023 All-Ohio Red team had a big day on Saturday and headed back to Columbus with a 3-0 record with wins over the Toledo Wildcats (plus 13 points), The Family (30-34), and the FA Heat (40-23).  The win over the Wildcats will have implications to our preseason Power Rankings when we release them in a couple of weeks.

Finally, we have to give a shootout to Coach Jason and his 2025 FA Heat.  This very talented squad has several studs that are nationally ranked, and the team is playing up and getting wins over older teams.  All in all, it was a great day of competitive basketball.  Congratulations to Romulo Roldan and Eric Watson for putting on such a competitive and well-run event.  Finally, below is a complete list of the standout performers we saw on Saturday.

 Standout Performers:

Taevion Rushing (5’8”/SG/WF/2020/Flint)
Keyon Menifield (5’2”/PG/2021/Flint)
Trevor Smith (5’9”/PG/2021/Rochester)
Keyshawn Devlin (5’6”/SG/2021/Allen Park)
Ethan Emercian (5’5”/PG/2021/MI)
Terrian Armstrong (5’10”/PF/2021/Flint)
Brice Shields (PG/2021/Detroit)
Rylan Bowens (5’10”/C/2022/West Bloomfield)
Julian Scott (5’2”/SG/2022/Rochester)
Dariuos Richman (5’3”/SG/2022/MI)
Jordan Kynard (5’0”/SG/2022/Toledo)
Demarko Craig (5’9”/WF/2022/Toledo)
Dale Calloway (6’1”/C/2022/Flint)
Ty Rodgers (5’11”/W/PF/2022/Saginaw)
Kylen Millender (5’3”/PG/2022/Detroit)
Khalil Luster (5’3”/PG/2022/Lima)
Derrick James (5’3”/PG/2022/Columbus)
Nate Houston III (5’9”/PG/2022/Toledo)
Joshua Roper (4’6”/WF/2022/Centerline)
Jamarion Wilson (4’11”/P/SG/2022/Pontiac)
Marquez Frazier (4’4”/PG/2023/Toledo)
Brice Eaton (4’11”/PG/2023/Detroit)
Jordan Combs (5’2”/W/PF/2023/Toledo)
Tony Tolbert (4’8”/PG/2023/Detroit)
Case Walker (5’8”/C/2023/Columbus)
Ryan Nutter (5’1/WF/Dublin)
Bede Lorio (SG/2023/Caldwell)
John Mobley Jr. (4’9”/PG/2024/Columbus)
Daveon Hall (SG/WF/2025/Pontiac)
Joseph Boddie (PG/2024/Gahanna)
Corey Pittman Jr. (WF/2025/Pontiac)
Robert Smith (P/SG/2025/Detroit)
Warren Henson (PG/2024/Finton)
Jason Harris (2025)
John McKenny (2025)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Introducing Michigan’s Ty Rodgers

Ty Rodgers 2022 Michigan
As we’ve stated countless times, we absolutely love discovering fresh new talent, then providing them with national exposure.  To this end, we would like to introduce our readers to Ty Rodgers (5’11”/W/PF/2022/MI).  While scouting the JBA Power League in Detroit, MI. this past weekend, we caught our first look at the multi-talented Rodgers and his Oakland Elite squad in one of the event’s “Games of the Week.”  We first mentioned Rodgers in a piece we published 2 weeks ago, and at the time, we had only heard about his talent; however, after evaluating him on Saturday, we are convinced of his upside potential as well as his place among the nation’s best in the class of 2022.

The big question, what can’t Rodgers do?  He’s long, extremely skilled, smart, has an elite motor and an advanced feel for the game. He runs the floor like a dear, is offensively gifted and serves as his team’s rim protector.  Moreover, he rebounds at a high rate, and with a super soft touch, he finishes around the cup with ease. We’re not finished; Rodgers’ tool bag includes a baby hook, the ability to post up, face up and drive and step outside for either a mid-range or 3-ball.  His transition game is on point, and at full speed he can stop on a dime and hit the short pull up jumper.  Oh yea, there’s more. Rodgers really excels at interior, big to big passing.  Rodgers finishes with contact and shoots free throws at a high percentage. Physically, Rodgers is lean, has long arms and big feet, which as we know, could mean he has plenty of room to grow.  Oh yea, his brother is 6’7 and his cousin is Jason Richardson, former Michigan State and NBA standout!

I know what some of you are saying, there Rob goes again hyping up some young kid who will disappear by high school.  Absolutely not, this kid has the potential to be the real deal, and we don’t say that very often.  To my college coaches who regularly follow this website, although he is only in the 6th grade, I would suggest you monitor the kid’s future progress.  To my fellow middle school evaluators, if we don’t see Rodgers in your updated rankings, you’re seriously sleeping.  We hope to see Rodgers at our March 12th elite showcase where he will get the opportunity to showcase his immense talent against the top players in the country. Welcome to the big stage Ty Rodgers!!

Photo Gallery

Henderson Consistently Elite

Keon Henderson 2021 PG Michigan
We first saw him a couple of years ago when his standout performance at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase announced his arrival on the national basketball scene. Since then, Keon Henderson (5’6/PG/2021/MI) has been a consistent high performer at elite camps and showcases around the country.  In fact, a recent highlight video demonstrates Henderson’s significant skill set.  Specifically, Henderson has an elite handle, which includes a killer crossover and the ability to separate from his defender.  In addition, Henderson has a nice step back jump shot and the ability to break down his defender, get into the paint and deliver procession passes to open teammates.  He shoots well from  the mid-range, from beyond the arc and off the bounce.  From where we stand, Henderson is clearly one of the best 7th graders in the state of Michigan.  Oh yea, keep an eye out for his younger brother Ashton, another elite floor general who is coming into his own and making a national name for himself.  We look forward to seeing both Henderson brothers at our March 12th elite showcase.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Wilson Explodes in Season Opener

Seth Wilson
Most everyone on the national travel team circuit is well aware of the exploits of Seth Wilson (6’1”/P/SG/2021/Ohio). Well, the Westlake community in Northeast Ohio has now experienced Wilson’s immense talent.  In his season debut, Wilson led his Lee Burnson Middle School squad to a 1-0 start on the strength of a double-double, and what amounted to a complete all-around game.  Specifically, Wilson’s stat line went like this: 33 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals. Already possessing great size for his position, Wilson is an excellent rebounder, and is almost impossible keeping him out of the paint.  Wilson has solid ball skills, is always in attack mode and consistently finishes near the rim.

Not only is Wilson excelling on the hardwood, his 3.9 GPA in an academic-conscience community is quite impressive, and makes him a favorite for selection to one of our All-Academic Teams.  According to Wilson’s father, his son will be returning to Coach Danyelle Love’s Tru Game team (formally known as King James) this summer.  According to Love, she has been impressed with Wilson’s game since he was very young.  “My relationship with Seth started when he was 7 years old.  Even at that early age, Seth stood out from his peers.  His IQ at that age was outstanding,” said Love.  She’s not just impressed with Wilson’s on-court talent, as Coach Love is a fan of how Wilson carries himself off the court. “If you watch some of Seth’s interviews, he’s very humble, tries to talk about his teammates and how he can get better rather than talking about how good he is,” Love said. “Seth is a humble kid who is insightful and grateful for everything he gets,” continued Love.

Not only is Wilson ranked nationally by just about every credible middle school evaluators, he is easily considered the #1 player in the state of Ohio.  Moreover, his performances at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases and other elite events have resulted in all-star game selections and MVP accolades. Additionally, when we release our preseason Power Rankings in a few weeks, Wilson’s team could be at the top, and when we hand out our individual honors, Wilson is likely to pick up some more hardware. Finally, you can catch Wilson in action at our Marth 12th Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase.  Get you some popcorn and enjoy the show!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Player's Stock on the Rise


Much like stocks trading on the New York Stock Exchange, a player’s basketball stock often ebbs and flows throughout the course of a season, and from season-to-season. In an effort to be as inclusive as possible, while providing broader exposure to the greatest number of players, we have decided to highlight a few players who we believe have the potential to see their stock rise over the course of the upcoming season. 

In terms of our methodology, we have considered several factors in selecting these players. First and foremost, these 40 plus players are not necessarily the most highly ranked players on our various top player lists, but rather players who have tended to fly a little under our radar; are on the cusp of breaking out, and have a chance to break into and/or rise up on our lists.  In addition, they tend to be players who we have not seen very much of, we may have only caught glimpses of during certain events, or heard positive comments about from credible sources.

A couple players who fit the description include guys like Warrensville’s Montorie Foster who seems to standout at just about every event we cover, and Josh Wanton who has consistently attended our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases and has been selected to all-star teams and been ranked among the best.  We are also talking about guys like Cleveland’s Omar Abuhamdeh and Raynell Arnold who we have seen, but would like to see more of this upcoming year. Add to the list Columbus’ Dominq Penn who seems to keep getting better and better, as is Marvin Davies IV, Josiah Mobley, Makhale Massie and Von Cameron Davis

We of heard a lot about guys like Anthony Maxie, Cameron McCreay and Schyler Schmidt, but we have yet had the opportunity to evaluate them. Moreover, guys like Andy Barba, Jake Younkin, Jordan Lowery, AJ Mirgon, Lorenzo Styles who we know can play, have good upside, but we need to see more of this season. Also included on the list are guys we have never seen, like Raymar Prior, Joey Battista, Jordon Huff, Gabe Cuppe, Chandler Thomas, Montev Ware, Adrian Layson, Iasish Walker, Chase Walker, Jordan Hale-Foster, Kobe Teck and Matthew Smith, but could be and/or are considered among the elite in the state     Finally, there are young guys like Dayton’s Lawrent Rice and Cleveland’s LA Hayes, Austin Nellis, and Brendon Raymond who are all very young, but appear to have a lot of upside potential.

Below is a link to a broader list of players who have a good chance to see their stock rise this season.  Also, we plan to revise and expand this list as the 2016 preseason unfolds, and as we refine our rankings, select players for our various awards and extend invitations to our exclusive events.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Team Teague Takes Title at Indiana Tourney

Team Teague 2023-Gym Rats MLK Classic Champions
Josh Helvie’s 2023 Team Teague squad added to their list of tournament titles with a 59-51 win over the North Coast Blue Chips (NCBC) in the championship game of the Gym Rats MLK Classic Tournament in Fort Wayne, IN. on Sunday.  In front of another standing room only crowd at Speice Fieldhouse, Team Teague raced out to a 9-0 lead to start the first half.  Later in the opening period, Team Teague had extended the lead to 32-12, and was up by about 12 points at the break.

As great teams do, about midway through the second half, NCBC mounted a serious run that did not end until the Team Teague lead was cut to only 3 points.  Team Teague would later run the lead back to double digits on their way to victory.  Although Team Teague’s success was attributed to a “collective effort,” Coach Josh Helvie highlighted the play of Reid Shepard (5’4/PG/2023/KY), Mike Davis (5’4/PG/2023/IL), Jeff Pinkston (5’11/C/2023/IN) as key contributors. Wesley Yates’ (5’6/SG/2023/TX) 5 treys were big for NCBC.  These 2 teams seem to always battle when they take the same court.  We can only hope for a match up at the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament April 1-3rd.  Congrats to both teams for making the finals and playing such a great game!

Abundance of Talent at Airmen Tournament

2022 Wayne Future Warriors -6th Grade Champions
Since 1999, Coach Al Powel and his staff have been hosting the Dayton Airmen MLK Tournament, and for as long as we can remember, the event has always attracted some of the top teams and players in the area and beyond. This year was no exception, as the top of the 5th and 6th grade divisions featured several quality teams and some very competitive games. 

The 6th grade championship game featured a showdown between the Wayne Future Warriors and the Trotwood Rams.  The game also featured a match up between 2 of the city’s top players in Douglas “Trey” Dennis (5’8/SG/2022) for Trotwood and Tyler Dorsey (5’6/P/SG/2022) for the Warriors. Early on, this was a highly contested game, with both teams trading body blows. In fact, by halftime, the Warriors were ahead by only 6 points (30-24). However, with studs Dennis and Jamel Smith (5’4/WF/2022) relegated to the bench, the Warriors broke out a layup line, went on a 14-0 run, and pretty broke the sprit of Trotwood on their way to a 59-38 victory. 

Although Dennis and Smith are the primary scorers for Trotwood, the Warriors used more of a total team effort to claim the championship. Wayne is a well-constructed team with solid guard play, scoring wings and quality bigs. In fact, when we release our pre season Power Rankings in a few weeks, the Warriors could be near the top. The leader of the team appears to be Tyler Dorsey, who can put up big numbers at any given time, but key pieces like Lawrent Rice (5’1/PG/2022), RJ Mukes (5’4/SG/2022) and James Cammon (5’6/WF/2022) make this team tough to beat.  Oh yea, we have to mention Michael Cole (5’1/SG/2022) who can really light it up from beyond the arc. In terms of scoring, Rice led all scorers with 15 points, followed by Cole with 12, Mukes with 11, Dorsey with 10 and Cammon with 8 points. Dennis paced Trotwood with 14 point, all but 2 of which were in the first half.

Dayton Swish-5th Grade Champions
The 5th grade championship turned out to be one heck of a game, as the Dayton Swish squared off with Salvation Army. The Swish would jump out to an early lead, and by the end of the opening quarter, would lead 9-6.  The Swish would maintain their lead through the second quarter, and would enter the break ahead 18-11. A 7-0 run to start the 3rd quarter would knot the game at 18. Back to back treys by Paul Woodard and a Swish 8-0 would put them back on top 26-18 with 2:20 left in the quarter. A layup up by Dre’Sean Roberts would halt the run, and cut the lead to 26-20.  By the end of the quarter, the Swish was still up 28-23. Salvation Army would mount a 5-0 run of their own to tie the game at 28 at about the 4:08 mark. A final 4-0 run by the Swish would seal the deal and result in an eventual 40-32 victory.  The Swish was led in scoring by Paul Woodard and Delamar Blanton who both finished with 11 points, followed by Tyren Brown’s 5 points.  Dre’Sean Roberts paced Salvation Army with a game-high 14 points. 

It’s also worth noting that this event provided us with the opportunity to get an even closer look at Roberts, and we could not have been more impressed with his poise under pressure, IQ, length and the way he handles himself.  We were high on him before, but the performance he logged in on Monday has us thinking that when we release our class of 2023 Watch List later this week, Roberts could be one of the 3 best players in the state in his class!

Dennis, Dorsey, Rice, Mukes, Smith, Washington, Dorsey, Littles & Culter
In the 3rd grade championship game Salvation Army defeated Team Dayton 17-12, and in the 4th grade championship game Salvation Army took down Dayton Swish 40-15.  Of note in that game was the play of Salvation Army’s Marquise Young, Javon Vaughn, and Myles Perkins and the Swish’s Reginald Person.  In the 6th grade semi-finals, the Future Warriors defeated the Dayton Airmen 45-29, while the Trotwood Ram bested the New Birth Warriors in a lopsided contest.  Other standouts included: Sellers Little (5’0/PG/2022), Rico Culter (4’9/PG/2022), Derrick Shepard (5’8/C/2022), Daniel Washington (4’8/PG/2022/Columbus), Robert Dorsey (5’0/SG/2022/Columbus), Ollie Martin (5'7/PF/2022) and Juwan Turner (4/8/SG/2024/Columbus).  

Roberts, Woodard, Blanton, Brown, Cole, Shepard, Turner
All in all, Monday represented a great day of basketball.  Congratulations to Al Powel, Mark Landers and the entire Dayton Airmen for their hospitality and for putting on another great event!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Roberts Heads List of Loaded Dayton 2023 Class

Dre'Sean Roberts-2023 Piqua
The Dayton, Ohio area has a long history of producing D-I basketball players.  It’s still real early, but Dayton’s class of 2023 looks to be special.  Right near the top is Piqua’s Dre’Sean Roberts (5’0/SG/2023/Piqua).  Roberts burst onto our radar after a breakout performance at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in September, when his talent garnered him an all-star game appearance and a top10 final ranking. In addition, we are so high on Roberts that when we release our initial 2023 Watch List next week, Roberts will not only be represented, he will be listed as a potential top 10 player.

Roberts is an offensive-minded shooting guard who can also sit down on defense and cause problems. He’s also very skilled, with the ability to knock down open jumpers and a willingness to find open teammates.  Last summer, Roberts led his MVP Dynasty team with a 20-point scoring average, and so far this winter, Roberts is leading his 10-1 Piqua Indians community team (25 ppg) in the Dayton Metro Winter Basketball League, the area’s most competitive league.  With Robert’s as the leader, the MVP Dynasty has a chance to be well represented when we release our preseason Power Rankings early next month.

As we mentioned earlier, Dayton’s class of 2023 appears to be more than solid. Some of Dayton’s other standouts include: Gabe Cuppe; Shawn Thigpen; Obie Bronston; Tyron Barnes; Dalton Delong; Kaden Christensen; Elias Lewis; Tyren Brown; Mason Shrout; Jameson Rivers; Paul Woodard; Darryl Cooper; Akio Perry; Stourm White; and Delamar Blanton.  Because it’s so early with this class, we’re sure we have not yet unearthed all of the talent this talent-rich area.  With that said, look for several of these players to make one of our Buckeye Prep All-State Teams, as well as a roster spot in the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star game. We also expect to see Roberts at our March 12th elite showcase as well as his MVP Dynasty team in our Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament April 1-3rd.

While we are talking Dayton area basketball, let us take the opportunity to mentioned a couple of hidden gems.  Carter Gray (6’2/ 2020); Grant Delk (6’4”/PF/2020); Ryan Delong (6'2"/PF/2020); Cameron Miles (2022/Lima); Jansen Kincer (2021); and Trey Robertson (2022/Waverly) are all players we have heard about, but want to see more of this upcoming season.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase Alums Make Jordan Game

Omari Spellman & Josh Jackson
The Buckeye Prep Report would like to congratulate Omari Spellman and Josh Jackson for their selection to the prestigious Jordan Brand Classic 2016 All-American Game. We at Buckeye Prep our proud of our showcase alumni and are pleased to say we played at least a small part in their development and success!  Spellman broke out onto to the statewide and national scene after a dominant performance at our elite showcase 4 years ago.  From there, Spellman received extensive national exposure and would go on to reach All-American status.  Although he was already on a lot of radars, Michigan’s Josh Jackson wowed the showcase crowd with his elite athleticism and would also pace his Team Michigan squad in the prestigious Ohio vs Michigan All-Star Game that was part of the event.  The Buckeye Prep family salutes both players, and wishes them luck in their future endeavors. 

Johnson Dominating Middle School League

Sonny Johnson Jr. PG 2022
With a scoring average of 35 points per game, Sonny Johnson Jr. (4’9/PG/2022/Cleveland) has his John Paul Middle School squad sporting an impressive 5-0 record so far this season. Over the past 3 games, Johnson has exploded for 39, 42 and 40 points, respectively.  Anyone who has followed Johnson’s young career would expect him to excel in school ball, as he is not only one of the top 6th graders in the state, he is nationally recognized and ranked. In fact, we have him as one of the top 3 players in Ohio’s class of 2022.  In addition, Johnson has been a perianal all-star and MVP at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcases.

Johnson is a dynamic PG who can either get you a boatload of buckets, or play the role of a playmaker utilizing his elite court vision and passing skills. As you would expect from a national ranked floor general, Johnson has complete command of his team, while also making his teammates better. A pleasure to watch, Johnson is a human highlight reel, as he uses his insane handle to beat guys off the dribble and get into the paint where he usually finishes or drops it off for an easy layup by a teammate. 

As a coach’s son [his dad coaches Garfield Heights HS], Johnson is smart and savvy, and clearly understands the game.  If that wasn’t enough, Johnson has great genes, as his father is a former Ohio Mr. Basketball who played collegiately at Ohio University. This coming travel season, Johnson will suit up for Hardwork Basketball’s 2021 team, while also making appearances with John Mobley’s 2022 All-Ohio Red squad. You can catch Johnson at our March 12th elite showcase, as well as the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament April 1-3rd.  Also, Johnson has an excellent chance to make the Buckeye Prep All-State Team, and an Ohio North vs South All-Star Game roster.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Gahanna’s Clark Ready for a Breakout

Quincy Clark-Gahanna 2021
As we have proclaimed on many occasions, we absolutely enjoy highlighting under the radar talent.  Well, Quincy Clark (5’4”/PG/2021/Gahanna) is one such player.  He’s been recognized locally as a talent, but for the most part, no one’s really giving him his just due.  We’ve seen Clark on several occasions, most recently at our spring Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase, where he played his way onto an all-star game roster, then proceeded to garner Top 5 honors.

Clark is a highly skilled floor general who understands the game, knows how to run a team, and makes his teammates better.  He has elite ball skills and is a proficient scorer, but his best asset is his feel for the game and his ability to deliver passes to his teammates, which are on time and on target. Because he is unselfish, has a “team first” approach to his game, and would prefer to make the right play rather than hunt his own shot, Clark can be easily overlooked in certain settings.

He ran with Pro Bound last season (a D-III team), but will suit up for Coach Marty Finta’s All-Ohio Red 2021 team this summer, where he will have a greater opportunity to shine.  Currently, Clark is the scoring leader on his 6-4 Gahanna Middle School East team and is averaging 10-12 points, 5-6 assists and about 4 steals per game. In terms of his future goals, Clark intends remain in Gahanna and eventually play in Coach Tony Stiab’s Golden Lions program, before moving on and playing college basketball.

Academically, Clark is getting it done as well, as evidenced by his gaudy 3.7 GPA.  In addition, Clark is spiritual, and is active in his local Church.  Two years ago, Clark played quarterback on a local team, but gave up on the sport in order to focus on basketball. We are obviously high on Clark, as we have him ranked among the best in the state in the class of 2022, with a legitimate chance of cracking the top 10.  Moreover, in terms of central Ohio talent, Clark is firmly in the top 5. 

We should get several opportunities to evaluate Clark over the next couple of months at our elite showcase, as well as the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament April 1-3rd.  If Clark lives up to the expectations, he has a chance to make our All-State Team, as well as receive an invitation to the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game.  You heard it hear first; Quincy Clark is the real deal! 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cottingham Makes Case for Elite Status

Makail Cottingham-2021 Parma
He’s not yet become a household name, but Makail Cottingham (5’8”/SG/2021/Parma) is quietly positioning himself as one of Ohio’s elite 2021 players. Because he’s not playing with one the of more storied programs in the state (i.e. All-Ohio, King James, OBC), Cottingham has been flying under the radar so far in his young career.  However; we’ve caught him in action in several camps and showcases, including our Buckeye Elite Showcase last September, where he logged in a standout performance. In terms of his intangibles, Cottingham has good length; a solid skill set and a great motor.  Cottingham is a high-energy player who, is fast, passes well, can shoot the rock and is an aggressive defender. Because of what we have observed of Cottingham’s talent, we have him listed among the state’s top 2021 players, with a legitimate chance to crack our top 10.

Cottingham’s talent is evident this school season, as he has paced his Shiloh Raiders middle school team to a 9-4 record, and has to his credit an impressive 23.6 points per game average.  So far this season Cottingham has logged in a season-high 38 points, as well as multiple 30 plus point games.  Cottingham is also a good student and is packing an impressive 3.1 GPA. If he continues to develop and has the type of breakout 2016 campaign we think he can have, Cottingham has a chance to get the nod for our Buckeye Prep All-State Team, as well as grab an invitation to the prestigious Buckeye Prep Ohio North vs South All-Star Game which is currently scheduled for later this year.  Finally, you can catch Cottingham in action at our March 12th elite showcase, and in April when his Hardwork Basketball travel team will be participating in our Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament.  We plan to continue to monitor Cottingham’s progress.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Toledo Finishes 1-1 in Michigan League


This past Saturday, Coach Tony Kynard took his 2022 Toledo Wildcats team on the road to the state up north to participate in the opening weekend of the JBA Power League at Detroit’s Consortium High School.  Right out of the gate the Wildcats hooked up with Oakland Elite, one of the best teams in Michigan, in what was billed as the “Game of the Week.”  Admittedly sluggish after a week with no games or practice, Toledo seemed to just “go through the motions,” said Kynard.  Although Toledo led for most of the game, Oakland Elite would mount a comeback during the second half and go on to claim a 27-24 win. 

Although disappointed with his own team’s play, Kynard was impressed with the play of Oakland Elite’s Ty Rodgers (5’11”/WF/2022/Saginaw), who he described as strong and very athletic. “He [Rogers] just took over in the second half,” Kynard said. From what we here, Rogers is a stud who can play all five positions, can finish around the rim and can knock down the 15-foot jump shot. Moreover, Rogers is still flying under the radar, but is quietly making a case as the #1 player in the class in Michigan. Another standout for Oakland Elite was Kyle Millender (5’3/PG/ 2022/Detroit), who is described as the consummate floor general.

Game two of the day for Toledo was a different story, as the Wildcats jumped out to an early lead on The Family and never looked back.  According to Kynard, the game was never close. “We finally woke up,” continued Kynard. Toledo was paced by Emoni Bates (6’3”/WF/MI), who finished with a game-high 18 points, and Dior Connors (5’7”/SG/OH) who tallied 16 points.  For the record, later in the day, The Family would take down Oakland Elite by a single point.  Keep an eye out for Bryce Beattle (4’11/PG/2022), who is lighting quick and tenacious on defense.

The Wildcats will return to league play in 2 weeks.  Also, look for a possible rematch in April, as Oakland Elite will be participating in the Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament. Finally, below are the complete results for the weekend.  We intend to continue to follow the results of the JBA Power League in the near future.

JBA Power League Week One Results:

3rd Grade Division:

Sky The Limit 25 VS Reach Legends 12
The Family Chuck 50 VS Reach Legends 16
Sky The Limit 11 VS The Family 36
The Family Grey 17 VS Sky The Limit 15

The Family Black 13 VS Sky The limit 2nd 5pts

Oakland Elite 12 VS The Family White 18

Oakland Elite 10 VS The Family Black 22

4th Grade Division:

The Family Black 32 VS Reach 23
The Family Gold 13 VS Sky The Limit 12
Oakland Elite 21 VS The Family Black 39pts
Express 35 VS Oakland Elite 30

5th Grade Division:

The Family 40 VS Toledo Wildcats 30
MWA ELITE 53 VS Oakland Elite 22
MWA Elite 86 VS Port Huron Kings 9
The Family 42 VS MI Flagship 18
Oakland Elite 14 VS Toledo Wildcats 18
MI Flagship 38 VS Port Huron Kings 14
The Family Gold 22 VS Sky The limit 24
Port Huron Kings 15 VS The Family 45

6th Grade Division

Oakland Elite 27 VS Toledo Wildcats 24
The Family 27 VS Toledo Wildcats 55
Hoyas 38 Vs Asap Blazers 45
Express 17 VS Asap Blazers 39
Express 17 VS Hoyas 36
The Family 38 VS Oakland Elite 37

7th Grade Division:

Oakland Elite Roe 61 VS Motor City Thunder 27
Oakland Elite Brad 38 VS Flint Comrades 36

8th Grade Division:

Motor City Thunder 48 VS Flint Comrades 51
Incredibles 43 VS MI Natives 36
Oakland Elite 7th Roe 47 VS Incredibles 28
Motor City Thunder 36 VS MI Natives 41pts
Flint Comrades 28 VS Motor City Thunder 18
Oakland Elite 7th Brad 34 VS Flint Comrades 28

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Puma Pair Lead Undefeated Squad

Matt Allocco & Chris Mayfield
Midway through the middle school basketball season, the 10-0 Hilliard Memorial Jaguars remain undefeated, and are well positioned to cruise to a perfect record by seasons end.  The success of the 8th grade Jaguars can be directly attributed to the outstanding play of Matt Allocco (5’9”/PG/2020) and Chris Mayfield (6’2/WF/2020), a pair of nationally ranked 8th graders.  Other than a close 23-24 win over a Jack Pugh-led Jonathon Alder team last week, the Jaguars have not been challenged to date, winning by 20, 30, and 40 point margins.  Allocco and Mayfield lead their team in scoring, with both averaging anywhere from 17-18 points per game.

Allocco is no stranger to success, as the scrappy and tenacious floor general has led his various travel teams to great success.  This past summer, Allocco and Mayfield were both standouts for the Mid-Ohio Pumas, one of the most successful teams in the country.  Allocco is most well-known for his elite skill set, basketball IQ and ability to lead any team he takes the helm for. In addition, Allocco is a bulldog and the consummate competitor, who often wills his team to victory.  Not only can Allocco create his own shot, he excels and distributing the rock and making his teammates better.

Mayfield has elite athleticism, so when combined with a solid skill set and a natural feel for the game; he’s a problem for your typical middle school player.  What’s most impressive about Mayfield’s game right now is his strength, physicality and his ability to play through contact. Mayfield may be able to score at will, but he is also an able and willing passer.  In fact, Mayfield is an all-around player who impacts the game on several levels.  With Mayfield’s current size, athleticism and developing skill set, he easily projects as a division I athlete going forward.
 
Jack Pugh
While we are talking about elite middle school players who dominate for both their middle school and travel teams, we would be remised if we did not mention Jack Pugh (6’2/W/PF/2020), one of the top 8th graders in the state and country.  Along with Allocco and Mayfield, Pugh is a consensus top 5 player in his class in Ohio. Around the cup, Pugh is virtually unguardable. Too crafty for most post players, and too strong for most wings; Pugh is a problem in the paint.  The best part of Pugh’s game right now is his ability to absorb contact and still finish at a high level.  With continued development with his perimeter skills, Pugh’s upside is good as well. 

Finally, it must me mentioned that the 2020 Pumas have another stud on that Jonathon Alder team in Jack Santa-Emma (5’6/PG/2020).  This season, Santa Emma is playing solid ball and is a key piece to a very talented Jonathon Alder team.  With a foundation of Allooco, Mayfield, Pugh and Santa-Emma, the Mid-Ohio Pumas should once again prove to be one of the top teams in the nation, with a legitimate chance of getting the nod as the #1 ranked 2020 team in the state when we release our Power Rankings if a few weeks.  In addition, each of the above players is an early favorite to make the Buckeye Prep All-State Team, as well as grab a coveted invitation to the prestigious Ohio North vs South All-Star Game later this year. We hope to catch up with the Jaguars during their run through their post season tournament at the end of the month.